North Korea launches projectiles for 2nd time in 5 days, South Korea says

/ CBS/AP

Concern about North Korea missile test

Seoul, South Korea — South Korea's military said Thursday that North Korea had fired at least one unidentified projectile from its western area. It was the second such launch in the last five days.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea had fired the projectile or projectiles "from the North Pyongan Province in the eastern direction at 4:30 p.m. today."

It gave no other immediate details of the launch, which came amid deadlocked diplomacy between North Korea and the United States aimed at, from the U.S. side, ridding the North of its nuclear arsenal.

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The new launch or launches were carried out during a visit to South Korea by the Trump administration's Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun. According to the State Department, Beigun was to meet South Korean officials in Seoul on Thursday and Friday, "to discuss efforts to advance the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea." He was in Japan for two days prior to the stop in Seoul.

Thursday's launch came hours after the North, through its state media, described its earlier firing of rocket artillery and an apparent short-range ballistic missile on Saturday as a regular and defensive military exercise and ridiculed South Korea for criticizing the launches.

Trump not giving up on North Korea nuclear deal

Over the weekend the North fired several unidentified short-range projectiles from its eastern coast, South Korea said. The initial U.S. assessment was that the projectiles were short-range missiles, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported.

South Korea's military bolstered its surveillance after that first launch, eager to detect any subsequent launches. The country initially reported Saturday that a single missile was fired, but later issued a statement saying "several projectiles" had been launched and that they flew up to 125 miles before splashing into the sea toward the northeast.

There was no doubt the launch was a message, although CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer said it wasn't completely clear who that message was addressed to. The Kim regime may be signaling its frustration with the U.S. over the stalled negotiations, after talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended in a stalemate in February.

Mr. Trump tweeted on Saturday about Kim, but he didn't mention the weekend missile tests.

"Anything in this very interesting world is possible, but I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it," he tweeted. "He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!"

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un supervises a "strike drill" for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill in North Korea, in this May 4, 2019 photo supplied by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/REUTERS

First published on May 9, 2019 / 4:28 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un supervises a "strike drill" for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill in North Korea

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